Flames Sign Emile Poirier – A Glance Ahead

Calgary Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke is an impatient man, and he continued his streak of "doing things" on New Year’s Eve as signed 2013 first round selection Emile Poirier to an entry-level contract. This makes three draft pick signings (Klimchuk, Kanzig and Poirier) and a trade since Burke turfed Jay Feaster and John Weisbrod a few weeks back.

This also means that the club has signed its first four selections in the 2013 draft (all three first rounders, plus Kanzig), leaving just Rushan Rafikov, Eric Roy, John Gilmour and Tim "Who?" Harrison left to sign before the whole 2013 Bunch is under contract.

Poirier’s signing on December 31, 2013 means that his contract can slide a year when it kicks in next season (as he signed during the calendar year he turned 19, not the calendar year he turned 20). It’s an odd little CBA quirk, but Burke got it done. Poirier turned 19 on December 14 and, despite not making Team Canada’s World Junior roster, has been having a great season. He has 53 points in 36 QMJHL games this season (his NHLE would be around 34-ish), is one of the top scorers in his league, serves as an alternate captain for the Gatineau Olympiques, and has even fought four times this season. Truculence!

With this deal done, the Flames have a contract break-down over the next little while that looks something like this:

  • 2013-14: 49 contracts (although Klimchuk, Poirier, Kanzig and Sieloff all slide a year)
  • 2014-15: 24 contracts (although Klimchuk, Poirier and Kanzig can all slide another year)
  • 2015-16: 12 contracts

In other words, the Flames have quite a bit of flexibility, even with these deals signed.

In theory, as it stands right now, the Flames could sign five college players at the end of the season, or add five contracts through other means (e.g., trade or waiver claim). I suspect the first reason is why the team would like to retain some of this flexibility. Like with Ben Hanowski last season, it’s entirely probable that the Flames may attempt to get some graduating college seniors (such as Bill Arnold of Boston College or Kenny Agostino of Yale) or some talented under-classmen (such as Johnny Gaudreau of Boston College or Jon Gillies of Providence College) to get a taste of the NHL. In such case, I believe that the clock would begin ticking on their pro deals as soon as they landed in the bigs, so the team would need to have contract spots open for those clocks to tick.

And looking forward to the American Hockey League playoffs, it’s possible that Troy G. Ward may have some very talented reinforcements for the Abbotsford Heat. If Arnold, Agostino or Gaudreau sign, they could be assigned to the AHL following the completion of the NHL schedule. And it’s also likely that Morgan Klimchuk, Keegan Kanzig, Emile Poirier, and guys that need to be signed before June 1 like Ryan Culkin, Brett Kulak and Coda Gordon, could all end up in Abbotsford either on assignment from the Flames or on an amateur try-out (which wouldn’t impact their ELCs). I don’t think that all of these aforementioned nine prospects will be in Abbotsford, but it’s likely that a good chunk of them will.

That being said, there’s still a lot of hockey left to be played – 42 more games in the Flames schedule – but it’s worth noting the possibilities that may arise in the weeks and months (and even years) yet to unfold.

  • cunning_linguist

    Great that Poirier is signed; he should be an ideal candidate for this team down the road. First he is a skilled guy with lots of speed, secondly he will probably play around 200lbs once he fills out so he is big enough to play and third based upon his pm in the Q he is not afraid to get his nose dirty. Burke has done a good job getting these guys signed (hurts me to say it) but this should have been a no brainer anyways. We need more guys like Poirier and the rebuild will be better.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I have great hope for Poirier, as he has potential to be a really good player with a set of skills well suited to any of the 4 lines (although ideally it would be nice to see him in the top 2 lines eventually). He reminds me of Alexander Burrrows with more speed.

    I don’t remember the last time the Flames had and agitator in the line up that could make you pay – Maybe Ville Nieminen?

    • everton fc

      I understand why people see him as another Borrows. He isn’t. Poirier’s a power forward. His skating, as seen in the video montage, is incredible. He powers his way past people, and can go wide, or right down the middle, if need be. He can handle a one-timer, has great hands (should be great in the shootout) and will mix it up, minus the gloves, if need be.

      He could be a real steal. Maybe Feaster’s best. With Burke here, I fear Roy may not have the “grit” needed to be signed. But I still think Roy’s a player.

      Also – I like Westgearth’s interview in a prior post. He’s certainly no dummy. If he can learn, and he seems to be coachable, he could be turned into a pretty useful 4th line plugger. Better than McGrattan, who for me, is getting “old”. I also like MacDermid. Same reason.

      I know Ferland’s out with a bad knee injury. Two things;

      1. Is it the same knee he had surgery on in Brandon a few years ago?
      2. Ho bad is it? Someone posted “the remainder of this year, at least.” Is his career in jeopardy? I would have loved to see him up with the big club for a short ramble this season.

  • beloch

    Hopefully Burke will be patient with these kids, if nothing else, and let them develop in the AHL before throwing them into the NHL. Baertschi clearly needed a bit more time in Abbotsford.

  • etianap

    Now it means we’ve already reached the 50 contracts ceiling. What does it means? In the spring the Flames probably should have some room for signing Arnold and Agostino, maybe Gaudreau too.
    Apparently, management decided that the UFAs will be shipped out. This is the correct interpretation? So not only Cammalleri or Stajan, but Stempniak too, maybe McGrattan (that would explain the goons’ acquisitions), maybe Butler and D. Smith packaged for the deals.
    Burke have some deals already on the pipe. What do you think?

    • etianap

      Thank You Ryan. On Capgeek I countered 48 contracts (26 with the big team and 22 non-roster players on two-way contracts) without Poirier. I knew that there were 44 or 45 before signing Jooris and the Colborne deal. Am I missing something?

      • Poirier was contract 49 (but slides this year)
        Westgarth for Nemisz was a clean swap
        Kanzig was contract 48 (but slides this year)
        Klimchuk was contract 47 (but slides this year)
        MacDermid for pick for Jackman was a clean swap
        Roy & Smid for Horak & Brossoit was a clean swap
        Colborne was contract 46
        Jooris was contract 45
        Monahan was contract 44